last minute CFP for panel at 2017 AAAs: Right and Far-Right Politics and Movements: Ethnography/ic matters

Damien Stankiewicz's picture

Hi all,

We still need 2-3 papers to complete our panel. If interested, please send an abstract ASAP given the tight deadline for submission to the AAA (Friday).



2017 AAA Meetings, Washington, D.C.  "Anthropology Matters"

Damien Stankiewicz, Ph.D.

Asst. Professor, Anthropology

Temple University

Call for Papers:  Right and Far-Right Politics and Movements: Ethnography/ic matters


The past decade, and especially the past five years, have seen the global resurgence of right and far-right political parties and movements. These include Viktor Orbán and Fidesz in Hungary, Italy’s Lega Nord, Narendra Modi and the BJP in India, Donald Trump in the United States, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, France’s Marine Le Pen, Greece's Golden Dawn, Britain’s UKIP and BNP, Germany’s AfD and NPD parties, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, and Michel Temer and the PMDB in Brazil, among many others. There have also been a number of nationalist and xenophobic policies and legal frameworks recently enacted by governments and legislatures that are not viewed as explicitly (or typically) conservative, such as Inger Stojberg (and Venstre) in Denmark.

Observers of these widespread political shiftings disagree on the degree to which they can be understood to be comparable or parallel, but a central explanatory logic tracing across several of these contexts has been that these political movements constitute a backlash against globalization, migrants and permeable borders, flows (and ebbs) of global finance, and, more ambiguously, the loss or the threat of loss of (national) identity. Wall Street Journal editorialist Greg Ip writes, evoking this narrative: “…[G]lobalists would be wise to face their own shortcomings.  They have underestimated the collateral damage that breakneck globalization has inflicted on ordinary workers, placed too much weight on the strategic advantages of trade and dismissed too readily the value that may ordinary citizens still attach to national borders and cultural cohesion” (Ip 6 January 2017).

But for all the speculation of why there has been “popular” reversion to nationalist, xenophobic, and socially conservative government, there is fairly little ethnography, especially in Europe and the United States, among partisans and supporters of right and far-right political parties (though exceptions include Holmes 2000; Gingrich and Banks 2006; Miller-Idriss 2009; Rydgren 2007). Perhaps especially in the wake of Donald Trump’s electoral victory, anthropologists have realized that there has been relatively little ethnography that might explain what factors and processes are in play and, in short, why people voted the way they did.

Pressing questions—questions that make anthropology matter in this historical moment—abound: Do these movements constitute a global trend and if so, why? Should we be paying attention to particular political leaders, or are political personalities secondary to economic marginalization (or other concerns)? What newfangled roles might media (and especially social media) be playing in circulations, and non-circulations, of political news and information (Karlsson and Åström 2014; Ceron and Porro 2014; Postill 2013)?   

This panel invites papers from a variety of geopolitical contexts to contemplate what ethnography can contribute to our understanding of the current global political moment (whether or not we consider these contexts to be commensurable). At the same time, it asks participants to consider the ethics and meta-politics of this research: What are the possibilities and ethics of conducting ethnography in contexts in which the researcher may feel uncomfortable or unwelcome—and in which they may feel they need to obscure their personal views or research objectives?

Works Cited

Ceron, A. and G. Porro.  (2014). Every tweet counts? How sentiment analysis of social media can improve our knowledge of citizens’ political preferences with an application to Italy and France. New Media & Society 16(2) 340–358.

Coleman, E. (2010). Ethnographic approaches to digital media. Annual review of anthropology. 39: 487-505.

Ip, Greg. (2017). “We Are Not the World.” The Saturday Essay. Wall Street Journal 6 January.

Gingrich, A. and M. Banks, eds. (2006).  Neo-nationalism in Europe and beyond : perspectives from social anthropology. New York : Berghahn Books.

Karlsson, M., & Åström, J. (2014). The political blog space: A new arena for political representation?. New Media & Society.

Postill, J. (2014).  Democracy in an age of viral reality: A media epidemiography of Spain’s indignados movement. Ethnography.15(1): 51-69.
Rydgren, J. (2007). The sociology of the radical right. Annu. Rev. Sociol. 33: 241-262.